Ah, the humble games console. Once a device built to play a particular set of games cartridges, if owners were lucky, the domestic console now provides players with the opportunity to explore whole new worlds. How times have changed from those early days of the Magnavox Odyssey, the Atari, the NES, and the first generations of PlayStation and Xbox.
Games consoles are among the most sophisticated pieces of kit modern gamers could ever hope to own. Far from being limited to the content that’s downloaded from a disc, consoles are now able to: access the Internet, provide in-game purchases and upgrades at the touch of a button, stream television, play DVDs and Blu-Rays, access web browsers and online content, support cross network play, and facilitate file sharing – all from within a shiny box that may not be much bigger than a house brick. The very best consoles are quickly becoming encompassing entertainment systems, and it’s a revolution with online gaming at its helm.
So, just what is it that domestic consoles need to keep up with, and embrace if they’re to succeed?
There can be little denying that online gaming has utterly revolutionized the games industry; it’s estimated that online gaming is worth a staggering $2.8billion to the US market, with 72% of the country’s gamers choosing to do so online. The increasing popularity of mobile and social gaming has a huge hand to play in this upheaval, and the makers of consoles are being forced to alter their tactics in order to remain relevant. Consoles that can’t, or won’t keep up are quickly left in the cold.
Sony, it seems, is a dab hand at keeping up with the times. The PlayStation 4 surfs the Internet, plays music and movies, streams Netflix, facilitates cross network gaming and file sharing, and plays good old-fashioned games. The phenomenon that is online gaming has revolutionized the way that content is accessed, and manufacturers must keep up with consumer demand and desires if they hope to receive a slice of the industry’s revenue.
Surfing the web
Online gaming is instantaneous, accessible, and social. It’s an experience gamers revel in because they want to keep pace with the latest technology, share it with friends, and access content they’d otherwise be unable to play. Like many other consoles the PS4 has become a hub for everything Internet, including streaming services, web-based movie and music providers, web browsing, and cross network play. There’s even room for online platform and multiplayer games, which can be accessed via downloads that now integrated into game discs.
The online revolution has reinvented the multiplayer game, and consoles have quickly caught on. That’s not to say that gamers are limited by what they play. Indeed, far from it. The growth of online casinos in the UK, such as 888casino, has been facilitated by consoles’ increasing sophistication, in the same way that consoles have had to adapt because of the rising popularity of such gaming platforms. What’s more, consoles’ ability to connect to the web means developers and manufacturers are able to include in-game purchases, exclusive content, and integral bonuses that can only be unlocked online. Such a capability has benefits for companies like Sony and its customers.
Embracing online communities
It’s already been said the Internet has revolutionized the multiplayer format; gamers can now meet and play alongside one another regardless of where they live, communicating via in-game chats and Bluetooth headsets. Rather than cramming a few gamers into one room in order to play, the rise of online gaming has opened each battle to the world. This has had something of a domino effect on gaming, and console production. Gaming is now more sociable than ever, increasing players’ desire to access further content, and putting pressure on developers to create content that’s going to entice this online community; appeal to the masses, and developers and manufacturers have a hit on their hands.
The rise of Internet and online gaming has increased fan communities, and changed the face of gaming unequivocally. Gamers’ experiences are enriched by conversation, walk-throughs, upgrades, and modifications, which consoles must now provide to hold their attention. If they’re really to succeed in the field of online gaming, consoles must be able to create a buzz around each product, winning a place on YouTube channels and streaming sites.
Far from shying away from the latest technology, modern domestic consoles must embrace each development if they’re to continue to play such a role in the games industry. From increasingly intelligent AI and VR, to voice, gesture, and eventually mind controllable games, the Internet and games industry now go hand in hand; it would be a shame for the domestic console to miss out.